For a long time I have been doing all I can to further my foot inside the metaphorical door of radio, and it’s fair to stay that it’s still an ongoing journey.
Helping me on that journey have been the Radio Academy, whose events ranging from the many small workshops and talks in London, the seasonal pub quizzes, to the big events such as the Radio Festival have helped me to build contacts and develop relationships within the industry I love.
Most importantly the events create opportunities for people working in student or community radio to be in the same presence as those in BBC and commercial radio, sharing ideas and advice, and most importantly of all,
a passion for the box of audio delights.
Which is why it came as a shock on finding a message in my inbox, explaining that the “Not Sony Awards”have been abandoned, and pushing to one side that the annual Radio Festival has also been dropped.
On first reading this I will admit that I felt non-plussed regarding the Radio Academy Awards, but after looking deeper into the implications, the fact that this is effectively the Radio BAFTAs getting the boot, and the saddening news of the office staff being made redundant from the end of this year, something really bad must be going on.
Many other radio insiders are rightfully worried, some even writing their own thoughts on the announcement in a far more intelligent and well-thought manner than I can
(even if they deny so themselves).
With a slight shortage of events from the London Branch this year, a lack of community spirit with most attendees at this year’s Radio Festival (not to mention a disappointing Foot In The Door event compared to previous years) and overall uncertainty within members, I shouldn’t be surprised at today’s announcement.
But on a personal level, Caroline, Mandy, Nella and any of the staff I have forgotten at the time of writing have been really amazing and welcoming at all the RA events I have attended and to lose them all of a sudden is upsetting.
If change is necessary, then that’s understandable. Radio is constantly evolving and the Radio Academy needs to move with it.
But to make a sudden annoucement with little explanation of what will happen regarding the future of the Radio Academy, that’s a genuine cause for concern.